Last Friday September 27, 2019, the EU Policy Lab organised a workshop on the use of behavioural sciences for policy at the Researchers’ Night in Seville (Spain). This event aimed at exposing citizens to science in an informal and fun format.

In our 45-minute workshop, we tried to convince citizens that the application of behavioural sciences to policy help them make more sustainable consumption choices. We kicked off the presentation with the classical experiment on the bat and the ball to show that we don’t always think rationally. Workshop attendees then all participated in the decoy effect experiment, which confronted them with the effectiveness of marketing techniques to steer consumers in certain directions.

We then focused on EU consumer policies informed by these behavioural findings. We explained to the workshop participants how the EU Energy label helps consumers think about the long-term savings of using an energy-efficient appliance. Thinking about the future, and delaying potential benefits, is sometimes difficult (perhaps you have heard of the Marshmallow experiment?). The European Commission conducted several online and brick-and-mortar experiments with EU consumers to choose the best way to express the EU Energy Label. We showed participants how simply changing a scale for the energy label can affect comprehension and choices.

We then presented other ongoing behavioural research at the EU Policy Lab, such as our literature review on the effectiveness of different nutritional labels on food products as well as our monitoring of behaviourally informed policies in EU Member States.

The Seville Researchers’ Night is one of many similar events taking place throughout the EU under the framework of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action “European Researchers’ Nights”.

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